U.S. prosecutors unveiled new charges against former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on Thursday, accusing him of taking official actions on behalf of an investor who provided access to a high-return, low-risk investment vehicle.
A revised indictment issued by a Manhattan federal grand jury added four new counts to three earlier ones facing the Democratic politician, who was first hit with public corruption charges in January.
Beyond charges of honest services mail and wire fraud and extortion, the indictment says Silver engaged in monetary transactions involving crime proceeds by investing money from the scheme in a private investment vehicle.
Silver previously pleaded not guilty. His lawyers, Joel Cohen and Steven Molo, said in a joint statement that the filing was “an attempt by the government to address defects in the indictment that we raised in our motion to dismiss.”
Silver, 71, was previously accused of using his position at a law firm to conceal more than $3 million earned referring asbestos sufferers to the firm from a doctor whose research received secret benefits, including $500,000 in state grants.
Prosecutors say Silver, who remains an assemblyman for Manhattan’s Lower East Side after resigning as speaker, also received $700,000 by steering real estate developers with business before the legislature to another law firm.
Of that money, $642,000 went into an investment vehicle that Silver gained access to through an investor he had a relationship with, the indictment said.
Silver never paid fees to the investor, but took certain official actions at the investor’s request, the indictment said.
By January, Silver’s investment in the high-rate, little-risk investment vehicle had grown to $1.4 million, the indictment said.
SOURCE: Reuters, Nate Raymond